“The eyes of the world have been on Scotland as we move toward independence, and since the start of this year we have taken important steps forward on that historic journey to rejoin the family of independent nations, many of whom have themselves become independent in recent decades.
When the United Nations was formed, there were only around 50 independent countries in the world - now there are almost 200, many of them smaller than Scotland. And of the 10 countries that joined the European Union in its most recent big expansion in 2004, half a dozen have become independent since 1990, all of them smaller than Scotland.
So, far from running counter to international trends of integration and cooperation, as some of the anti-independence camp try to assert, Scotland's constitutional progress is clearly running with the grain of history as more nations seek independence in an interdependent world.
With independence, Scotland will take its place as a member of that international community while continuing as a friend and good neighbor to the other nations of the United Kingdom.
Independence will mean that decisions about what happens in Scotland and for Scotland are taken by the people who care most about Scotland - that is, the people living, working and bringing up their families here. No one else can do a better job.
The people of Scotland will be in charge. Our future, our resources, our opportunities will be in our hands. Independence will give us, the people of Scotland, the opportunity to make decisions in Scotland's best interests. And that means we will be able to make Scotland the country we all know it can be - a wealthier and fairer nation, a country that speaks with its own voice, stands taller in the world and takes responsibility for its own future.
Independence is about Scotland rejoining the family of nations in our own right. We can be both independent and interdependent - we can stand on our own two feet while working closely with other nations, our friends and neighbors. Independence is what we seek as individuals. It is the natural state for people and nations around the world. Not being independent is the exception.
The Parliament in Edinburgh already makes all the important decisions when it comes to running our schools, hospitals, police and much else. Independence will mean we are also responsible for raising our own money.
Scotland is a land of unlimited potential. Our culture, history and reputation for innovation are renowned throughout the world, our universities are world-class, and our energy resources are unrivalled in Europe. Indeed, as an independent nation, we would have the sixth-highest wealth per capita in the developed world. At the same time, as the United Kingdom's debt has now smashed through the 1 trillion pound barrier, Scotland has a 1 trillion pound asset base in the shape of North Sea oil and gas.
With independence, we will have a new social union with the other nations of these islands. We will keep the pound and will continue to share Her Majesty the Queen as head of state. But we won't have our young servicemen and women dragged into illegal wars like Iraq, and we won't have nuclear weapons based in Scottish waters.
I want Scotland to be independent, not because I think we are better than any other country, but because I know we are just as good as any other country.”
Gaun yersel, Alex! 3000 miles away from the language polis and you can say that word as many times as ye like …
(with my thanks to Anthony Little for drawing my attention to the interview.)